How Brook Lopez, Bucks bludgeoned Hawks in Sport 5 with inside excellence

On the primary possession of Thursday evening’s Sport 5 between the Bucks and Hawks, Brook Lopez discovered himself remoted towards Kevin Huerter. Regardless of the pace drawback, Lopez caught with Huerter as he drove to the basket and rejected his working floater. Jrue Vacation acquired the ball in transition, backed Bogdan Bogdanovic all the best way beneath the rim and completed over him with a lefty layup.

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That sequence encapsulated all the contest. The Bucks bullied the Hawks on the inside all through Sport 5 in cruising to a 123-112 win and 3-2 sequence lead within the Japanese Convention finals.

“It was one of many foremost priorities, simply to be aggressive out of the gate,” Vacation stated throughout his postgame media availability. “Be the aggressor, be extra aggressive than they have been. And we undoubtedly felt like, these video games in Atlanta, the vitality from the group or no matter it was, they swung and punched us within the mouth.

“We did not need to take any probabilities. We needed to come back out robust and hit first.”

Milwaukee punched first this time round, and Atlanta by no means recovered. The numbers inform the story:

Factors within the paint: Bucks 66, Hawks 36

The Bucks lived within the paint in Sport 5, as 4 totally different Milwaukee gamers scored at the least 10 paint factors. Lopez led the best way with 26 of his playoff career-high 33 factors coming within the paint. 

With Giannis Antetokounmpo sidelined, Lopez grew to become the first curler and cutter to the rim, and Vacation (13 assists) and Khris Middleton (eight assists) constantly discovered him for simple buckets.

“I feel there was nice alternative for him to only get the ball a bit bit extra, attempt to use him a bit bit extra, and he got here by way of massive time,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer stated. “There have been a pair the place he simply made performs, however he did it in a variety of alternative ways. He did it in pick-and-roll. He did it on the offensive glass, acquired to the free throw line. Simply an general actually, actually spectacular effort.”

2-point discipline purpose share: Bucks 59.1, Hawks 50.0

Milwaukee shot 38.9 p.c from 3-point vary throughout the 2020-21 common season however went simply 9 of 29 (31.0 p.c) from deep in Sport 5. Atlanta, in the meantime, hit 15 of its 38 3-point makes an attempt (39.5 p.c).

However the Bucks drained practically 60 p.c on their 2-pointers to greater than make up for that hole. Lopez was ridiculously environment friendly, hitting 14 of his 18 discipline purpose makes an attempt (77.8 p.c). Vacation and Middleton stored the stress on the Hawks’ protection, going a mixed 14 of 26 contained in the arc (53.8 p.c).

“I feel Jrue did a terrific job of setting the tone first,” Middleton stated. “He acquired himself going, then acquired different guys concerned, Brook, Bobby [Portis]. However then myself, I simply attempt to decide my spots, discover the place I can assault and be aggressive and take benefit.”

Rebounds: Bucks 47, Hawks 40

The ultimate hole within the rebounding division wasn’t enormous, however Milwaukee confirmed it was going to be the extra assertive staff on the boards to open the sport.

By way of the primary seven minutes of the primary quarter, the Hawks had . . . zero defensive rebounds. That is proper — not a single one. Cam Reddish lastly grabbed the staff’s first defensive rebound with 4:02 remaining within the opening interval, and at that time Atlanta trailed by 18 factors.

Hawks coach Nate McMillan provided a blunt evaluation of his squad’s effort stage on the defensive finish.

Now it is on the Bucks to convey that very same mentality and depth to Sport 6 in the event that they need to lock up their first NBA Finals berth since 1974. They know something much less will not be sufficient to knock out these feisty Hawks, particularly with Antetokounmpo presumably nonetheless caught on the bench 

“It is completely simply everybody stepping up collectively to fill that. Clearly nobody can change Giannis,” Lopez stated. “He is a freaking two-time MVP, a lot of what we do. Nobody individual goes to interchange that. It is a matter of everybody stepping up, and I feel everybody confirmed that their able to doing that tonight.”

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